Maria Argyropoulina

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Maria Argyra or Maria Argyropoulina (Greek: Μαρία Αργυρή or Αργυροπουλίνα ; died 1007) was the granddaughter of the Byzantine emperor Romanos II and niece of the emperors Basil II and Constantine VIII.

In the Venetian Chronicle by John the Deacon, it is mentioned that Maria was the daughter of a noble patrician, called Argyropoulos, who was a descendant of the imperial family. This information is confirmed by the chronicle of Andrea Dandolo, who says that she was the niece of the emperor Basil II. As a member of the Argyros family Maria was also relative to the future Byzantine emperor Romanos III Argyros.

In 1004 Maria was married to Giovanni Orseolo, the son of the Doge of Venice Pietro II Orseolo, in the Iconomium palace in Constantinople with full imperial pageantry - the couple was crowned with golden diadems by Basil II. Maria brought to her husband great dowry, including a palace in the imperial capital, where they lived after the wedding. Basil also honored Maria's husband with the title of patrician.

At her wedding she used cutting edge, fashionable gold forks. But in the 11th century, fork was a controversial item.[1] “She was roundly condemned by the local clergy for her decadence, with one going so far as to say, ‘God in his wisdom has provided man with natural forks—his fingers. Therefore it is an insult to him to substitute artificial metal forks for them when eating.’"[2]

Before they left Constantinople, Maria Argyra begged the emperor for pieces of the holy relics of Saint Barbara, which were brought to Venice by her.

Maria Argyre and Giovanni Orseolo had a son, who was named after emperor Basil II.

In 1007 Maria along her husband and son died when plague swept through the city-state.


  • Tapkova-Zaimova, Vasilka (2009). "Balgari rodom ." : komitopulite v letopisnata i istoriografskata traditsiya (in Bulgarian) (1. izd. ed.). Veliko Tarnovo: Univ. Izdat. "Sv. Sv. Kiril i Metodiy". p. 119. ISBN 9789545246845.
  • Nicol, Donald MacGillivray (1992) [1988]. Byzantium and Venice: A Study in Diplomatic and Cultural Relations. Cambridge University Press. pp. 44–47. ISBN 0521428947.


  1. ^ Standage, Tom (2018-09-05). "Waiter, there's a fork in my soup". 1843. The Economist. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  2. ^ Ward, Chad (2009-05-06). "Origins of the Common Fork". Leite's Culinaria. Retrieved 2018-10-07.